Continuing on our journey around the world, today we arrive in the Republic of Colombia. Let's explore some common cultural facts about Colombians and their expectations when it comes to training and development.
Test your knowledge of Colombian culture with the Fun-Fact questions below:
- What is the difference between Colombia and Columbia?
- True or False. Colombia is named after Christopher Columbus, even though he never set foot on Colombian soil.
- What are hormigas culonas?
Quick Tips for Training & Development in Colombia1:
- Introductions and greetings can take a long time in Colombia and include many polite questions about one's family, health, and travels. Be mindful of this, and refrain from cutting these interactions short, as this is considered impolite.
- Colombia's official language is Spanish, and English is not widely spoken, so translation must be a priority.
- While the threat of kidnapping has greatly diminished, it is still a risk for foreign visitors. Take appropriate precautions if training on location.
- Because of the country's high altitude, be prepared to give your body time to adjust if you come from lower land areas.
- Colombians tend to interpret truth through feelings and are typically risk-averse and hesitant towards change. Be sure to craft your training materials with these factors in mind.
- This country has a high masculinity index and may be rigid regarding gender roles in the workplace. Consider the impact of this perspective when giving examples or selecting images for your training materials.
- Foreigners are expected to be on time for business meetings, while their Colombian counterparts may arrive 20 minutes late and still be considered "on time." Priority is given to meeting objectives and building relationships rather than to starting or ending promptly.
- The further you move inland, the more formality you can expect in attire and business interactions. Coastal areas are more casual. No matter the location, do not address anyone by his or her first name unless invited to do so.
- Colombia is a South American country. Columbia is a university in New York.
- True. The first Europeans to arrive in Colombia were led by Alonso de Ojeda in 1499.
- Big-bottomed ants served as a salty snack.
1Morrison, Terri, & Conaway, Wayne A. (2006). Kiss, bow, or shake hands (2nd ed.). Avon: Adams Media.